Records Not Focus For Hilltoppers

WEST LIBERTY – Although senior quarterback Zach Amedro and several of his teammates are closing in on an assortment of national, conference and school records, that’s not the focus for West Liberty as Coach Roger Waialae’s Hilltoppers (5-3 overall, 4-2 West Virginia Conference) prepare for Saturday’s game at Seton Hill (2-8, 1-6).

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Offutt Field in Greensburg, Pa.

”We’re just going up there to play a football game,” Waialae said. ”The last thing we want to do is change anything. These kids are in position to do some special things but they got there by running the offense the way it’s supposed to be run. If we keep doing that, everything should fall in place.

”It’s when you try to change things and force the issue that you run into problems.”

The Hilltoppers are coming off a 37-23 victory against Charleston last week that was highlighted by Amedro’s fourth consecutive 400-yard passing performance, his fifth 400-yard game of the season.

The senior QB already holds NCAA career records for 300-yard passing games (28), consecutive 300-yard passing games (13) and passing yards per game (329.8) and is now approaching some major milestones.

With 13,852 career passing yards, he is 499 away from becoming the all-time leading passer in NCAA Division II history. The record of 14,350 yards was set by East Stroudsburg’s Jimmy Terwilliger (2003-06). Amedro is also No. 2 all-time with 1,011 pass completions. That’s 44 short of the record set by Minnesota-Duluth’s Ted Schlafke (2005-08).

The veteran signalcaller isn’t the only Hilltopper chasing history.

Tight end Ryan Travis leads the nation with 104 catches and 1,109 receiving yards. He is 13 shy of the WVIAC regular-season record of 117 catches, set by Glenville State’s Chris George in 1994, and needs 27 catches in his final two games to break the NCAA Division II single-season record of 13.0 catches per game, set by Southwest Baptist’s Nick Smart in 2007.

Tailback Kevon Calhoun needs two rushing TDs and three total TDs to break the school records set by Derrick Stickles (2002-05) in both categories. Calhoun is also five touchdowns away from breaking the school’s career scoring record of 275 points, set by Billy Hager (2005-08).

”I think Seton Hill’s record is a little deceiving,” Waialae said. ”They have some pretty good weapons on the offensive side of the ball and there are some playmakers on defense but they’ve hurt themselves with turnovers. Their quarterback was hurt when we played them last year so we haven’t gone against him yet but he’s put up some big numbers against a lot of people.

”I thought we played better defensively against Charleston last week and we need that to carry over.”

West Liberty is 5-0 all-time against Seton Hill, which has only been playing football since 2005. The Hilltoppers have won the previous five games by an average score of 44-24.

Game Notes

  • Amedro’s 116 career TD passes rank No. 4 all-time among NCAA Division II quarterbacks.
  • West Liberty set an NCAA Division II single-game record with 820 yards of total offense in a 70-43 victory against Seton Hill in the 2007 season finale. Amedro, then a freshman, threw for 518 yards and five TDs.
  • Amedro broke his own school record with 528 yards of total offense (487 passing, 41 rushing) against Shepherd last month. The 528-yard game ranks No. 5 nationally this season
  • The Hilltoppers rank in the top 10 nationally in total offense (523.5 2nd), passing offense (398.0 3rd) and scoring offense (40.2 10th).
  • Amedro is No. 2 nationally in passing yards (397.1 ypg.) and No. 3 in total offense (403.3 ypg.)
  • Despite missing two games because of injury, Calhoun still ranks No. 8 nationally in all-purpose yards (166.3 ypg.), No. 9 in scoring (10.0 ppg.) and No. 10 in rushing yards (120.3 ypg.)
  • West Liberty ranks No. 126 (out of 151 NCAA Division II teams) in passing defense at 240.1 ypg. The Seton Hill pass defense is No. 129 (242.0).
  • Griffins LB Nick McGahagan is No. 3 nationally with 2.25 tackles-for-loss per game.
  • Seton Hill QB D.J. Lenehan started three games, passing for 630 yards and four TDs, at Toledo in 2007.
  • The Hilltoppers are 36-3 under Waialae in games where they have fewer turnovers or turnovers are equal. Last week’s victory against Charleston was the first time they’ve had fewer turnovers than their opponent this year.